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Image of malignant melanoma

Scientists Find Melanoma Cure

June 19, 2008 05:43 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
By cloning patients’ own cells and injecting them back into the body to fight tumors, scientists claim they’ve cured advanced skin cancer for the first time.

30-Second Summary

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According to the BBC, scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle selected CD4+ T cells from a patient’s white blood cells, cloned the cells in a laboratory, and then injected billions of the cells back into the man’s body.

The cells attacked the man’s tumors and, after two months, the tumors had disappeared. Two years later, he was still cancer free.

The BBC said the study’s authors claimed that the cure was a “world first,” but conceded that their technique was only applicable to a certain type of patient with “a particular type of immune system and tumor type.” The cure may only be effective in a small percentage of patients with advanced melanoma.

Said project leader Dr. Cassian Yee, “We would need to confirm the effectiveness of therapy in a larger study.”

Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center conducted a preliminary trial in November 2002, which suggested that lab-generated T cells could be enlisted to prevent the spread of cancerous tumors.

One year later, in 2003, scientists at the University of Virginia tested a melanoma vaccine in a clinical trial of more than two-dozen patients, and had largely successful results.

The American Cancer Society, linked to in the findingDulcinea Skin Cancer Web Guide, warns, “The best way to lower risk of melanoma is to avoid too much exposure to the sun and other sources of UV light.”

Headline Link: Cloning the cure

Background: Previous cloning trials

Related Topics: Melanoma vaccine

Reference: Skin cancer resources

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